Papua New Guinea Rugby League is pleased to confirm the Prime Minister’s XIII squad for the upcoming friendly match against our Australian counterpart.
Twenty players have been invited to take part in the week leading into the PM’s XIII in Brisbane, with camp commencing on Wednesday, September 21.
Papua New Guinea Rugby Football League (PNGRFL) Chief Executive Officer Mr Stanley Hondina, on behalf of the PNGRFL Board, congratulated the team and commended coach Stanley and his support staff for the great work done.
“We have every confidence in the team and know they will do us proud on Sunday,” Mr Hondina said
“We also extend our appreciation to the NRL and DFAT for hosting this event, especially after what has been a tough three years with not much international football. This game is bigger than just football, it’s about our shared heroes and history, bilateral relationships and most importantly the people-to-people connection we have that is even stronger with this sport.”
“Our domestic partners in PNGLNG, Digicel, KPHL, NGCB and BSP, without your support this wouldn’t be possible and PNGRFL is greatly indebted by that,” Mr Hondina stressed.
With players whose clubs are deep into finals footy unavailable for selection, the opportunity for incoming squad members to put their best foot forward at the camp to enhance their bid for selection in the World Cup becomes very real.
In light of that, Papua New Guinea will retain eight of the seventeen that made the field in their convincing Pacific Test victory against Fiji Bati earlier in the year at Campbelltown Sports Stadium, Sydney.
When Coach Stanley Tepend was asked if there was any more pressure or a higher expectation of these players he responded.
“These eight did their job against Fiji and that’s why they have been given another opportunity at this level. Playing Australia in this match will be no different. Every player selected was the best we could pick considering all the clashing finals on same weekend and injuries to key players recently were factors out of our control during this selection process. However, we hope to carry on from what we built in the Pacific Test and give our boys a competitive hit-out before the World Cup Squad is announced,” said Stanley.
Papua New Guinea can lean on a solid defensive structure, showcased against Fiji with a close-knit group of players from the Queensland Cup. Including Central Queensland Capras trio Zev John, Nixon Putt and Mckenzie Yei, who are fresh off a high-intensity final series in the Hostplus Cup.
Coach Stan has also injected new blood from the Digicel Cup into the squad, with in-form player Leon Undupia (Mendi Muruks). Undupia has been a standout player in the Digicel Cup and with his team now out of finals contention he becomes available for selection. With other players considered from both Agmark Gurias and Hela Wigman made unavailable with finals.
“I will be looking at the new players coming into this game, with each of them a genuine chance at making it into the World Cup squad. We have spots available, and this is their opportunity to prove that no matter what we face or what situation we are put in, we rise together,” said Stanley.
We will be coming up against a good Australian team and playing at the best Rugby League stadium. So, it’s important for this group of boys to not let the occasion get to them but play the way we want to.”
The 2022 Papua New Guinea Men’s Prime Minister’s XIII is as in alphabetical order as follows:
Keven APPO [PNG Hunters]
Edene GEBBIE [Townsville Blackhawks]
Zev JOHN [Central Qld Capras]
Epel KAPINIAS [Wynnum Manly Seagulls]
Francis KISH [PNG Hunters]
Kyle LAYBUTT [Townsville Blackhawks]
Sylvester NAMO [PNG Hunters]
Jimmy NGUTLIK [Western Suburbs Magpies]
Brandon NIMA [PNG Hunters]
Wartovo PUARA [PNG Hunters]
Nixon PUTT [Central Qld Capras
Judah RIMBU [PNG Hunters] Dan RUSSELL [Brisbane Tigers] Rodrick TAI [PNG Hunters] Sherwin TANABI [PNG Hunters] Cruise TEN [Souths Logan] Wesser TENZA [PNG Hunters] Leon UNDUPIA [Mendi Muruks] Emmanuel WAINE [PNG Hunters] Mckenzie YEI [Central Qld Capras]
Coach: Stanley Tepend